Into to Community My Community Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Community

What makes a community, and how are individuals positioned within a community? What challenges are part of belonging to a community and what are the challenges associated with membership in a community? Answers to these and other questions will be presented in this paper.

The Literature on Community

Among the key questions addressed in social work is this one: how is your role as a social worker influenced by the community you participate with and live within? Moreover, how does the social worker establish his or her identity within the framework of community and social work?

Lori Thomas and colleagues write in the Journal of Social Work Education that because of the attention paid to the concept and position of a "community organizer" during the last presidential election, it provided social work educators with an opportunity to "revisit and enhance community practice" (Thomas, 2011, p. 337). After all, Thomas continues, community work is "a core practice of the profession" (337). The author is of course alluding to the 2008 Republican National Convention during which vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared loudly and forcefully that "community organizing" is not an "adequate professional preparation for the office of the President of the United States (Thomas, 337).

Both Palin and Giuliani "belittled the practice that has long been the purview of the social work profession," Thomas continued (337). The attacks on community organizing -- e.g., the social worker out on the streets helping less fortunate or socially struggling people find the resources to survive and even thrive -- revealed "the deep underlying assumptions about [the] community practice" that at the time "clashed with those held by now-President Obama supporters" (337).

Thomas paraphrased the "classic text" titled Community Organizing (Brager and Specht, 1973), and puts forward the four modes of intervention that are an important part of the social worker's dynamic within the community, and are pertinent to this research. Intervention, Thomas explains, is based on "how the community perceives the goal of the intervention" and also how the organizer (social worker) expects the community to respond to that goal (339).

When the goal is perceived as "mutually enhancing adjustments" the response from the community was assumed to be "consensus, and the congruent mode of intervention was collaborative," Thomas continues (339). When the goal was perceived by the community as a "redistribution of resources," the responses from the community often calls for a "campaign mode to convince the community of the intervention's worth," Thomas points out (339). In other words, the community might well feel that some kind of social engineering was in the offing, and would be suspicious, hence the need for a campaign to point out what the social worker is really trying to accomplish.

If the goal was perceived as a "change in status relationships" then the social worker / community organizer could "assume dissensus and use a contest mode," Thomas reports (339). (Dissensus is a difference of opinion, or the opposite of consensus.) And the final mode of intervention for a social worker, according to Thomas' reporting of the book Community Organizing, is violence, based on "an anticipated insurrectionist response to a perceived goal that threatened to reconstruct the entire system," Thomas continues on page 339.

Looking deeper into exactly what basic and yet vital components make up communities, the authors of the "Importance of Community" (Chapter 1) point out that without communities it is quite easy for individuals to become lonely and isolated. When positioned in a community, there is always another human to related to. But when isolated, according to the chapter, "mental and physical health problems can develop. In isolation, heart functioning can be jeopardized -- to a level that matches the problems related to cigarette smoking -- and other health problems can occur, like obesity and high blood pressure. The author claims that social isolated people "are four times more susceptible to the common cold and are two or three times more likely to die prematurely…" than others who are involved with community networks and social groups (p. 2).

The benefits to belonging to a community include a sense of "well-being" and reduced health and social costs; a reduced degree of criminal activity' and an opportunity for citizens to work cooperatively which in turn leads to an inclusive, and effective democracy (p. 2). As for the challenges facing communities, in the "Importance of Community" chapter (p. 3) the authors point to the fact that communities are struggling to "maintain vibrant organizations"; this is because increasing numbers of people spend more and more time in the workplace and there individuals often have their "needs for social inclusion" met to a greater degree than in their own neighborhoods (p. 3).

Moreover, when communities are going through dramatic changes, the self-image of individuals who live in that community may suffer. People may experience "…a sense of hopelessness and loss of power," the authors continue. When communities do feel a sense of hopelessness, the citizens may retreat into what Freire describes as a "culture of silence," or into a "state of learned helplessness," the authors explain (3).

On page 4 of their chapter, the authors suggest there are "over 90 definitions" of community, and about two thirds of the definitions identify communities as places where "social interaction, common connections, and locations" can be described. Other definitions include places where "commonalities in interests, beliefs, and behaviors" are expressed and experienced. Still another definition of "community" is "…that combination of social units and systems which perform the major social functions having locality [and] relevance" (4). The authors offer five functions of community: a) the need for supply to meet demand in any community is part of the "production, distribution, and consumption" function of a community; b) the socialization function if met through "the process of transmitting to members prevailing knowledge, social values and behavior patterns; c) the social control function is part of a community where conformity to group values and norms is important; d) the social participation function is met by giving members an opportunity to "interact with each other and to participate in cooperative activities"; and e) the mutual support function means that the community can and should act as a kind of "bridge between families and bureaucratized services by providing informal opportunities" (6).

What is community development? Certainly it doesn't necessarily mean a housing development or "urban renewal" in the strictest sense. The authors in Chapter 2 suggest it is described many ways, including the fact that it should be a "bottom-up approach": the people in the community determine the "appropriate goals and objectives" for themselves (p. 9). That is, no bureaucrat or autocrat dictates what is best for that community. Community development then is "fundamentally a democrat and social process," one that "increases the assets and attributes which a community is able to draw upon in order to improve their lives" (p. 9). Moreover, community development is people who act "collectively with others who share some common concern" (p. 9).

The Mi'kmaq native peoples in Newfoundland have not had the ability to enjoy a "bottom-up approach" to their communities, according to Dianisia White. The Mi'kmaq lived in peace and relative prosperity in Newfoundland until the Europeans arrived, White explains. In fact, in Newfoundland became a Canadian province in 1949, the Mi'kmaq were not included in the larger Canadian community of people, albeit they remained a community unto themselves culturally. The brutal bureaucratic decisions made by the Canadian government have hurt the aboriginal people, White continues. For example, here is a cultural community of people that had legitimacy and a legacy crying out for recognition. However, when the "Terms of Union" were established between Canada and Newfoundland, those terms described "…everything from Canada's transportation obligations… to the color of margarine" but…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Into To Community My Community" (2011, September 29) Retrieved December 7, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/into-to-community-my-45883

"Into To Community My Community" 29 September 2011. Web.7 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/into-to-community-my-45883>

"Into To Community My Community", 29 September 2011, Accessed.7 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/into-to-community-my-45883

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Community My Community Is a Middle Class Community

    Community My community is a middle-class community on the edges of a major city. The community is fairly well-integrated, with a number of races, ethnicities and nationalities represented. The community is not particularly close-knit, but there are common threads that bind the people here. For example, most of the people in the community are working class people. Most own or live in houses, with some apartments as well. For the most

  • Race and Community Your Community the Community

    Race and Community Your Community The community in which I have lived for the past several years of my life is Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a relatively agricultural community that combines some major metropolitan features with a distinctive suburban flair. Traditionally, this community has not been noted for its racial diversity, as the vast majority of its residents are Caucasian. According to the United States Census Bureau's information as of 2009, 87.9%

  • Cafeteria Food in My Community

    The problem with this is that the underlying issue is not addressed. The headmaster and staff completely ignored the contents of the petition, and the fact that numerous students have complained about the food they receive. They have also ignored the fact that the complaint, in the light of a more health-conscious society, is in fact legitimate. Another problem is a basic lack of communication. It can be that the school

  • History of Power My Community

    However, it is possible that there could have been more opportunities for increased power in all facets of my life. If I show more maturity, it is possible that I can gain more power at home. In school if I continue to excel and be responsible for my work and actions, this too is an opportunity for more power. If I become more active in my community, by participating

  • Race in My Community of

    But the limited growth policies that have remained popular with the Council (and a majority of the citizens, it would seem) have also kept the price of real estate high. Davis maintains the necessary amount of low-income housing, but many of the occupants are entry level workers at the town's biggest employer -- the University. These people tend to have college degrees and are -- you guessed it --

  • Race in Your Community My

    Not everyone is fond of Italian-Americans. Many believe that anyone with an Italian name must in some way be connected to the Mafia, and thus are leery of personal relationships, fearing some godfather figure lurks in the shadows somewhere. And I have seen Asians be the target of several types of discrimination, from hiring practices to business patronage. There has always been discrimination against African-Americans in some form or

  • Giving Back to My Community Through Education

    Community Through Education Education is, perhaps, the greatest gift one can receive. Through education, and the knowledge garnered through this education, all doors are open. There become limitless possibilities to one's future. Success is simply at the taking, for those who willingly receive the gift of education, and then put their newfound skills to use. However, it is through giving back to my community, through education, that I will truly


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved